Tributes paid to Ivor Robson after famous official starter of The Open dies at 83

Tributes have been paid after Ivor Robson, a man with one of the most distinctive voices in golf, died at the age of 83.

Robson was the official starter at The Open for 41 years and he also acted for over 40 years as the DP World Tour's official starter with his “on the tee” message delivered in his cultured brogue at famous golf venues around the globe. Robson sent the world's best players on their way in a wonderful career – from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods, from Arnold Palmer to Seve Ballesteros, from Tom Watson to Rory McIlroy.

His passing has been met with an outpouring of affection from players and golf administrators alike, with Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of The R&A, leading the tributes.

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“We are deeply saddened to hear of Ivor’s passing,” said Slumbers. “As official starter at The Open for over 40 years, his voice was instantly recognisable and synonymous with the Championship for players and millions of golf fans worldwide. He was popular and well respected among all golfers who played in The Open and I know that they will share in our sadness at this news. On behalf of all of us at The R&A, I would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife of 61 years, Lesley, and the Robson family.”

Ivor Robson has passed away at the age of 83.Ivor Robson has passed away at the age of 83.
Ivor Robson has passed away at the age of 83.

Robson announced his retirement in 2015, working at The Open at St Andrews for the final time, before making his emotional final announcements when the curtain came down on the DP World Tour season in Dubai in November 2015. “It has been a wonderful career,” Robson said at the time. “It's been a great honour. The way I have been treated by players, officials, sponsors … thank you all very much.”

A much-loved resident of Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway, Robson was born in England in 1940 and began his career at The Open in 1975 at Carnoustie. He went on to earn the admiration of the best players in the world, sending players off from the first tee with his famous words and a hearty grin. For 41 stagings of The Open, it was Robson’s voice that marked the time. He didn’t miss a championship or a tee time going back to 1975 and was also well known for avoiding a toilet break as much as he could between matches teeing off. A fiercely private man who enjoyed playing when he could at his beloved Moffat Golf Club, Robson was also a proud Rolex Ambassador.